Gov. Jack Dalrymple today met with officials from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to identify opportunities for enhanced pipeline safety in North Dakota.
In a meeting with PHMSA Deputy Administrator Timothy Butters and Jeff Wiese, PHMSA associate administrator for pipeline safety, Dalrymple said he is forming an advisory panel that will be tasked with researching the use of the latest available technologies to enhance pipeline safety in the state.
The PHMSA officials agreed to have a member of its technical staff support the work of the governor's advisory panel. The governor is currently forming the advisory group which will include independent engineers, members of the pipeline industry and state officials. The advisory panel will research technological solutions and provide recommendations that could be implemented to improve the monitoring and control of pipeline systems.
"Federal pipeline safety regulations do not require the use of real-time, remote-sensing technology and automated shut-off devices in all areas that may merit additional safeguards," Dalrymple said. "We need to know more about the latest technologies available that offer the best protection and how we can work with PHMSA and the industry to take greater advantage of these technologies for enhanced pipeline safety."
PHMSA regulates the operation of oil pipelines and partners with states, including North Dakota's Public Service Commission, to regulate natural gas pipelines.
"We expect pipeline operators in North Dakota to use best practices and that may mean going above and beyond federal requirements to improve the monitoring and control of pipeline flows," Dalrymple said. "The advisory panel will help us determine what the best technological solutions are and whether we can be doing more to ensure the safe operations of oil pipelines."
During an Oct. 28 conference call with PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman, Wiese and other PHMSA officials, Dalrymple urged them to review their oversight protocols and determine whether federal pipeline regulations offer ample protection for North Dakota citizens.
PHMSA requires the use of enhanced pipeline monitoring and control technology in locations considered "high consequence areas' such as cities and near drinking water supplies. Rural areas are not generally considered high consequence areas and are not subject to the same level of regulation.